My week with Big Betty: Review of the King Ranch Ford F-150

It was bound to happen. I am a born and bred, never lived anywhere else Alberta Girl.

I like {free-range, organic} beef and pork products, I enjoy a good rodeo every now and then and the thought of a man in a cowboy hat, on a horse, in a pair of tight Wrangler jeans does hold a certain raw appeal for me....


Sorry, what was I saying?

Oh yes!

So, really, it was only a matter of time before I found myself behind the wheel of something like...







Meet Big Betty. Also known as the 2012 King Ranch F-150 Ford Pick-up Truck.

Now before you get all, "Um? Helloooo, Ms. Natural Urban Mama, what the heck are you doing reviewing a HUGE truck when you live in the middle of the Big City and you claim to be all about the environment?", you have to know that I chose to review this vehicle for a few different reasons.

  1.  I have never driven a truck before and I thought it would be fun.
  2. This particular truck has Ford's innovative EcoBoost™ engine and I wanted to see if it really is all that and a bag of chips.
  3.  I have never really understood the appeal of a really big pick-up truck and wanted to get a feel for it first hand.

So what is the NUM verdict on Big Betty?

When I first pulled out of the lot with her and into traffic, my first thought was, "So this is what it must feel like to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex." BIGGER than anything else around you and suddenly overcome with an overwhelming desire to eat a big ol' piece of meat!

I fully admit that for that first day I was really nervous driving around in the biggest vehicle I have ever been in. But soon enough, the incredible luxury that is the King Ranch's interior and Ford's uncanny attention to detail just kind of put me at ease and if not for the fact that I was a full meter above most other vehicles on the road, I would have forgotten that I was indeed in a TRUCK!

Let's start with the interior.

The King Ranch is a SuperCrew model, which essentially means ROOMY! I am absolutely positive that you can fit 5 six-foot plus full-grown men in this truck without one of them complaining about lack of head or leg room. It also means that you can fit two preschoolers and their car seats in the back seat and they are spaced far enough apart to keep their hands completely to themselves and their little kicking feet and dirty shoes from hitting the back of the front seats too (ask my kids, this is my big car pet peeve)!

Ford really did not skimp on the luxury in this one. There is leather everywhere in this truck! The seats, the centre console, the knob on the floor shifter and yes, even the steering wheel. Add to that the stylish wood grain interior trim accents and Big Betty is one handsome lady! Right down to the fancy King Ranch logo tastefully embossed just about everywhere you can think of. And although we did not have a need for it, the one-touch 60/40 rear seats fold up to reveal a fully flat load floor for whatever you need to haul INSIDE your truck!

Another great thing about Big Betty, it that you don't have to be a 6 foot tall man to fit comfortably in the driver's seat. She has a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals and of course 10-way power-adjustable driver and passenger seats. And these seats can be both heated and cooled! Little ol' 5 foot 3 and 3/4 inch me found a very comfy driver setting and Big Betty memorized it for our week together.

The King Ranch of course comes standard with the Ford's voice-activated SYNC® and Navigation systems and the one essential feature that I would have been lost without, the back up camera. Seriously, I have no idea how people who drive such huge vehicles do so without one. I would have been a lot less confident in backing up and parking had Big Betty not had one of these, let's be honest, life-saving devices. Which is one of the reasons why the US Department of Transportation keeps pushing for back-up cameras to be mandatory on ALL vehicles in the near future.

In terms of Big Betty's driving performance and capabilities, like I said, she was my first truck experience and so I don't really have a good comparison. The King Ranch is equipped with Ford's 3.5L EcoBoost engine. This is what that means in car tech talk...

This direct-injection twin turbo engine delivers a best-in-class mix of torque, capability and fuel efficiency. It tows more than any competitor (up to 11,300 lbs.), hauls more (up to 3100 lbs.), gives you more torque (420 lb.-ft) and delivers best-in-class 9.0L/100 km hwy fuel efficiency. (exert from the 2012 F-150 Brochure)

And with a 136 L fuel tank what this really means is that you can tow and haul a buttload of stuff for a really LONG road trip. Like 1400 kilometers long! So you know, when you get a whim, you can drive from Edmonton to Whitehorse on one tank of gas.

I mainly drove Big Betty around the city and took her on one little road trip to my sister's place an hour outside of the city and managed to get a respectable 15.8L/100Km out of her.  I guess this is pretty good, but again, I have not driven any of the other trucks in the same class to give a fair and full comparison. I did like that I could see just how fuel-efficient I was being right there on my driver's console though, this made the, "Oh My God, I am driving a gas-guzzling beast!" feelings a little bit less front and centre.


In terms of hauling and towing and such, well, I can tell you that I do see the appeal of having a truck. You can make as many trips to IKEA as you like and never have to wonder if those damn boxes are going to fit in your car! Never again do you have to call your one friend who actually has a truck and beg him or her to help you pick up something REALLY big! And as you can see, the pickup box was a hit with the littles! And yes, it comes with what I learned from one of my contractors is affectionately called the "sissy step", or as I like to call it, damn smart thinking on Ford's part! The tailgate step along with side box steps make managing your cargo that much easier from all angles.


In the end, we were all kind of sad to say good-bye to Big Betty. The kids LOVED her and even my completely citified husband was showing her off to anyone who came by for a visit. She was their favourite review so far and yes, I will admit that it was kind of fun to drive it up to my parent's place and see the look of envy on my dad's face for that split second!

If hauling and towing and being the King of the Ranch is what you need, and you have $50,ooo.00 to spare, then the King Ranch Ford F-150 might just be the truck for you. For this Natural Urban Mama, I think I will just stick to my small, fuel-efficient, herbivore of a car and leave the T.Rex'ing for the big boys!

Happy Driving Y'all,


Disclaimer: Vehicle was provided to me for one week by Ford for review purposes.